Fifteen trash haulers have come to an agreement with St. Paul to start coordinated garbage collection in the city.
Residents must currently find and hire their own haulers. The city decided last year to shift to organized collection, in an effort to reduce the number of trucks crisscrossing the city and illegal dumping of big items like mattresses and electronics.
But negotiations between St. Paul and the 15 trash companies operating in the city dragged on as they worked through issues like pricing. After more than 10 months of meetings and seven proposals from a consortium of haulers, city staff members said they reached an agreement. All the haulers will get a piece of the city, based on their market share. Many residents will have a new company serving them.
"There's going to be less noise, less air pollution, less wear and tear on the streets and alleys," said Anne Hunt, the city's environmental policy director. "That's going to be a huge improvement on the overall quality of life in the neighborhoods."
The cost to residents will be at or near current rates and will include the annual pickup of three big items, such as appliances, which people previously had to pay for separately, said Kris Hageman, with St. Paul Public Works. A city study found, on average, households paid $27.49 monthly for medium-size cart pickup and $9.25 for the big items. But prices "varied wildly," Hunt said, and the new system will ensure costs are equitable.
The City Council will consider the agreement next week and formal contract negotiations will occur in August. The coordinated collection is expected to start in summer or fall 2018. The change will affect about 78,200 households, including single-family homes and residential buildings with four or fewer units. Apartment and condominium buildings will not be part of the organized system.
The haulers also said they would pay truck drivers at least $20 an hour and pay other staff a living wage, Hunt said, but they did not agree to support labor agreements, which would allow workers to unionize.
Jessie Van Berkel • 612-673-4649